Hey there, welcome to the final installment to the Let’s Study series for AMP: Year One. Today we’re looking at the Storytelling chapter of the book and see what advice we can get to running the game.
Themes / Moods
The chapter opens up with a discussion of the various Themes and Moods that can work with AMP: Year One. There’s a lot of ways to run AMP: Year One, and this is an intentional design feature. Eloy’s games have always been more open to different interpretations than most, and there’s little in the one-true-way of play in this book.
This section presents a few options that GMs can consider in planning their campaign, from the big mystery of the AMP’s origins, to having to survive in a world that doesn’t understand them.
The next section deals with various inspirational media to check out to get a feel for AMP. There’s a lot of stuff here, from TV series to movies and obviously, comic books. Lot’s of good stuff on this section, and the suggestions are solid for nailing the kind of mood for AMP: Year One.
This section presents various story ideas, and I wanted to call out that I do like the approach of presenting the ideas from the perspective of the various factions. I’ve always been a fan of playing with morals based on where a person is standing so seeing different takes on the various factions and the stories you can tell with each is a major plus in my book.
The last section of the chapter revolves around solid GM advice. There aren’t any big surprises here, though the advice is keyed specifically for high powered games like AMP. This includes the very useful point of handling super-powered conflict in a much more permissive manner. Super-powered characters can and will run over any sort of pre-planned plot due to their abilities, but that can be used as a springboard to interesting situations.
One of the things I’d like to call out specifically in the book is the fact that there’s a TON of sample characters in it. 33 different, fully-statted AMPs with their own unique backstories and artwork. That’s a lot of work done for you and you can just slap them into your campaign and run them as allies, or opponents depending on where your players stand.
Also included are stats for other threats you might run into from animals to normal people to specially trained soldiers which your AMP might encounter.
Review and Conclusions
To put it simply, AMP: Year One is a great game. It has all the usual hallmarks of Third Eye Games products: A broad-strokes background with interesting bits, a solid set of mechanics with a focus on high-octane action, and multiple factions to align with.
As his latest work, Eloy’s skill at crafting games shines best in AMP, and I feel that he’s really taken major steps forward in making a streamlined and yet inherently flexible ruleset. Wu Xing was funky fun, and Part-Time Gods was even better, but I’m afraid that AMP really spoils a GM and Players when it comes to playable fun.
That said, there are a few minor points that need to be repeated. Mechanics wise, the Skill + Skill setup isn’t quite as intuitive and takes a bit of getting used to. Also, the character sheet feels really crowded in my eyes, but overall, these are, as I said, minor issues that shouldn’t detract from enjoying the game.
Simply put, if you’re a fan of Supers games revolving around ordinary people getting powers and how they (and the world) react to it, get AMP: Year One. It’s flexible enough to go from Lighthearted, to Edgy to full on Grimdark, and won’t get in the way of your group having fun however they want.